Sony Sony A7 as a second camera

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
124
Lexington, Virginia
Steve
The Sony A7 (the original) is pretty cheap right now. The 50 1.4 is also pretty cheap. Is the combo worth it as a low light non-action camera? I have no experience with Sony FF so i’m looking for advice from real users. I’ve already looked at the old reviews.
 

jhawker

Regular
Aug 30, 2011
68
Springfield, Illinois
Steve,
Here's what I recall about my A7.

I used it for some time with a Voigtlander adapter and manual focus lenses from Leica and Nikon.

Everyone has correctly pointed out the clunky menus. Once set, I seldom had to visit them except for iso and white balance adjustments. A goofy mistake on location will cause a bit of strife though.

The files are still very competent. I especially like the black and white jpgs with the M mount lenses. Didn't have to work on them in post that much to get what I wanted. Portraits! Landscapes! Street, works but you can do better. You mention non-action which it would do a nice job on. I remember my wife grabbing it for some available light 50 mm shooting and getting some great results. I didn't work with it much in really low light and would imagine there are other reviewers that can give better response on that.

Ooh, It has a tilting monitor I grew to like too.

There were two bugs for me. First was, was the shutter. Not quite as loud as a Hassleblad but too much for the way I work in close quarters. The second was battery life. You'll need a couple maybe three to work without distraction.

Hope this helps.
JH
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
I've been eyeballing listings for a7 bodies lately. My guess (and someone can correct me if I am wrong) is that it should be similar in operation, AF speed, sensor output, etc.... to the RX1 that I kinda long for. The thing stopping me from getting an old RX1 is that I have looked at a couple different used ones, and they all had dust on the sensor. I've been thinking it's like a budget RX1 without the awesome lens, but with the option to use any lens you want.
 

M. Valdemar

Veteran
Aug 5, 2013
104
New York City
I had a Sony A7, which I replaced with a Sony A7II.

Both of these cameras are relatively inexpensive right now.

I would recommend a first time buyer get the A7II rather than the A7.

1) Image stabilization on the A7II. Stabilization being a very important improvement, especially with 3rd party manual focus lenses.

2) The A7II is much more refined than the A7, which is very much a "beta" camera release in my opinion.

3) The ability of the A7II to accept the Techart adapter. This was very important to me.

4) Probably much better future resale value on the A7II.

I also recommend you buy the Sony brand battery grip, which allows you to use two batteries and balances the camera quite a bit. I found the non-OEM grips inferior.
 
Last edited:
Oct 20, 2012
104
The Netherlands
Ad Dieleman
Thanks for mentioning possible dust issues with the RX1, no need to think about that camera any longer.

I still have my A7 that I bought from the first badge to arrive in The Netherlands in late 2013, alongside the A7R2 which is my main camera since early 2016. I use the A7 in my little studio at home, where it sits on a tripod with a bellows and various bellows lenses, ready to photograph lenses and stuff in my collection; in theory it's my backup camera though I've never needed it as such. I agree with the previous poster that the A7II's great advantage is the IBIS (in-body stabilization or Steadyshot in Sony speak), I wouldn't touch a camera without it now that I've had the pleasure of having it. I'd only recommend an A7 for use with manual-focus lenses, on a tripod or in bright sunlight; for anything else grab an A7 model from the Mark II or III series. IBIS is especially useful up to 85mm or so, for anything longer the sensor cannot make large enough swings to keep up with the lens' motion when focussing in magnified mode, the viewfinder image gets jumpy even though I have a fairly steady hand. So for telephoto I still strongly prefer stabilized lenses.

Other advantages I'd value in an A7II over the A7: tougher lens mount, better AF, better ergonomics (number and customization of buttons).

I had a Meike grip for the A7R2 and replaced it with the original Sony VG-C2EM grip so I agree with the previous poster: buy the Sony grip for a Mark II camera. I still have the Meike grip for the A7 which works OK; if I was going to use it on a regular basis, I'd also try to pick up a used Sony-branded grip. Disclaimer: I like to buy premium stuff whenever I can afford it.

I'm pretty sure that within a year or so the resale value of the A7II will make you cry almost as hard as for the original A7. Blink your eyes and your camera's value has depreciated once again. I still have a working NEX-6 (bought 5 years and 7 months ago) that is worth next to nothing but is borrowed by my daughter on each vacation because it's a "super-nice camera" (her words).

TL;DR
Sorry about the rambling. Used A7II's will be flooding the market now that the Mark III is in the stores and prices used or new will become attractive; for general use the A7II is a much better camera than the original A7.
 
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drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
124
Lexington, Virginia
Steve
I have been comparing the 7 vs the 7II mainly due to IBIS. Lenses are a different story. It appears to me that most of the decent AF E mount lenses will cost more than the body. Any lens suggestions?
 

M. Valdemar

Veteran
Aug 5, 2013
104
New York City
The Sony 28-70mm kit lens is not bad at all, if you want an E-mount lens. You can get one really cheap on eBay.

One thing you should do if you buy any Sony A series camera or lens is immediately update the firmware. Most people never update them. I bought a used Sony A7II that still had Version 1 firmware and updating it to the latest version made a big difference.

Also, be aware the the E-mount lenses also have firmware. You will get faster AF, better stabilization and so on by updating to the latest. It is not hard to do.
 
Last edited:
Oct 20, 2012
104
The Netherlands
Ad Dieleman
Personally, I hated the Sony FE 28-70mm, the pictures looked dull and greyish and sharpness of my sample wasn't great either. Past tense because it's been sold long time ago. I agree with @Luke that the FE 1.8/50 is good and inexpensive. It's mostly scolded for its slow autofocus which isn't entirely unjustified, but if you use C-AF it's well useable in most circumstances. Almost all other FE autofocus lenses will cost a lot more, with the Samyang FE 2.8/35 and FE 2.8/24 as relatively cheap and optically very decent options (as seen by image samples, not my own experience).
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
the Samyang FE 2.8/35 and FE 2.8/24 as relatively cheap and optically very decent options (as seen by image samples, not my own experience).
Thanks for mentioning these...I had no idea anyone but Sony and Sigma made AF lenses for the Sony E mount. I have a lot to learn about the Sony E mount ecosystem. I probably should spend a day or two over the Sony forums.
 

mnhoj

gee aahrr
Jan 27, 2012
103
Los Angeles
John
I really liked both.
The II is a night and day difference imo but if fun is the goal, not necessary.
Techart is a blast(II only).
OIS is helpful.
The Voightlander 40mm 1.4 with the Techart - OMGoodness.
The 28, 50 and 85 FEs are nice and not broke bank if native AF is key.
The shutter position of the II felt better.
I remember taking the baffles off the rear of the Sigma DX lenses with the version I. Kinda worked. No need now with many more AF options but it felt like a great hack then.

Before long I had a dozen legacy lenses both times.
Out of control fun!!
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
124
Lexington, Virginia
Steve
I'm looking at the Samyang 35 2.8. It's fairly cheap but gets good ratings optically. I just don't want to invest $1500 in a "cheap, fun" FF system. I've also debated going manual focus. I realized later that even though I said no experience I did have an RX1 I got from Luke. I liked the results but no EVF was a dealbreaker.
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
124
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
I had an A7 2 or 3 years ago. IQ was very good, but I never had much success at astrophotography with it. Might have just been user error, but my astro photos always had a lot of noise. Funny thing is my astro photos with the earlier Nex-5R and Nex-6 were much better. Go figure.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
124
Lexington, Virginia
Steve
That’s interesting, because one of the big reasons to buy FF is to get a stop or two, noise-wise. If I go over to DPR and look at the studio images, I can directly compare the A7 and the EM1 ii raw files at higher iso. There’s a difference but it’s not day and night.
 

rayvonn

All-Pro
Jan 19, 2015
124
Is your signature related?
I plan to own a used M9 at some point in the future and have, bit by bit over time as part of this (trust me, very) long term strategy, got some used M mount lenses off eBay. It's the thought of using these lenses with the Techart on a used Sony FF body costing relatively much less than a used M9 that piques the curiosity. Not gonna though, I have too much gear as it is, so gotta stay the course.
 

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